The traditional Haggadah, the Telling of the liberation story for the Passover Seder, says: “In every generation, all human beings must look upon ourselves as if we ourselves, not our forebears only, go forth from slavery to freedom."
In every generation!
Today we are living under pressure from a Pharaoh-in-Chief and many assistant pharaohs, including the Corporate Carbon Pharaohs whose boundless greed is aimed at burning Planet Earth, our Mother and our common Home, in order to multiply their Hyper-Wealth.
For Passover this year we need to gather everywhere to grow the Resistance again. In the Interfaith Freedom Seder + 50 we are holding in an African-American mosque in Philadelphia, but not there alone. Everywhere. Again. In every generation.
To make the Promise of Passover real, we need your help. We need your help in gifts of money, we need your help through invitations to come where you live to speak and teach, to weave new prayers of chant and breathing, new acts of justice. We need your help to keep doing our work to inspire and empower the Spirit-rooted Wind of the Resistance.
You can provide this help by clicking right now to the maroon "Contribute" banner on the left-hand margin of this page. Or you can read this Call to join in the work we plan, and then click to the maroon "Contribute" banner.
We seek to grow the Garden of the Green New Deal. Inspiring and persuading religious communities – individuals, local congregations, nation-wide religious denominations -- to support its call for Transformation.
The Green New Deal offers by far the best chance of success in our struggle to prevent climate chaos. And it calls for more -- for a society of ECO-SOCIAL JUSTICE. It demands action NOW to change our whole economy from Carbon to Renewable Energy, and to change our society from domination and despair to justice, equality, and freedom. From lies and subjugation to Truth and Transformation.
The matzah we eat for Passover physically embodies Dr. King's “fierce urgency of NOW.” “The bread was not leavened," says the story, "for the Breath of Life, the Wind of Change, thrust them out of the Tight and Narrow Land: Do Not Delay!”
Indeed, much of Passover is directly relevant to the Green New Deal.
Every year, on the Shabbat just before Passover, we read the Call of the very last of the classical Hebrew Prophets (Malachi 3:21-22)
“I [God, the Breath of Life] will send you Elijah the Prophet to turn the hearts of the parents and the children to each other, lest I come and smite the earth with utter destruction.”
It was our youth who sat-in in the office of Speaker Pelosi to put the Green New Deal on the map. Our children, our grandchildren. What are we doing to turn our hearts to them?
-– AND Passover reminds us that the Pharaoh who oppresses, enslaves, and orders the murder of the Israelite workers and children -- is the same Pharaoh who brings “Plagues” upon his own country. All the Plagues were eco-disasters: undrinkable water; swarms of locusts that ate all the crops; unheard-of hailstorms; a climactic sandstorm of darkness so thick you could touch it.
There is no separation between “social justice” and “ecological sanity.” Passover tells us there is ONE Truth -- eco-social justice. The Green New Deal demands ONE response -- eco-social justice.
The Green New Deal takes into account the pent-up demands for social justice against the pharaohs of our day who rip families apart, imprison children, impoverish workers, destroy jobs, turn poverty into hunger and hunger into famine, incite violence against religious and racial minorities -- just as the storied ancient Pharaoh did. The Green New Deal demands support to create the well-paid working-class jobs that will be needed to build –- literally build -- the green renewable-energy infrastructure and the ways of drawing-down CO2 that will save our planet from climate chaos.
This approach can awaken a great new coalition that treats ECO-SOCIAL JUSTICE as a many-faceted but unified agenda. It can appeal to workers, to the disemployed, to wide swaths of the religious communities, to the “forgotten Americans,” to those already suffering from climate disasters and those who know what is coming.
The Green New Deal also addresses the need for a just transition from Carbon to renewable energy by affirming the need for new jobs for those now locked into Carbon industries and for special aid to depressed and isolated communities, rural and urban.
To make this broad and deep coalition real and ready to resist, to be seeds of transformation, we need to work at the grass roots. These are four ways The Shalom Center intends to do this:
- Inspiring religious congregations to Move Our Money/ Protect Our Planet (MOM/POP); moving money -- out of banks that invest in burning the world, into banks and credit unions that will invest in local neighborhoods and people. Our work has already inspired the MOM/POP decision of the first synagogue to do this; much more needs to happen. See --
- Inspiring and assisting religious congregations to become seeds of neighborhood or congregational Solar Energy Co-ops. The Shalom Center sparked the creation of the Northwest Philadelphia Solar Co-op; there could and should be thousands of such efforts. See https://theshalomcenter.org/solar-co-ops-healing-home-neighborhood-planet
- Showing congregations, rabbis, and other spiritual leaders how to draw on the remarkable treasury The Shalom Center has developed of “Prayer and Bible Exploration as if the Earth Really Matters” -- renewing especially but not only Jewish prayer forms and interpretation of Torah for use in communal and public settings, to energize religious commitment to act on behalf of God’s Creation. We have been successful in unifying public prayer with public actions for eco-social justice.
- Organizing Training Institutes to train activists of varied religious communities and traditions to draw on their distinctive wisdoms -– their prayers, their stories, their sacred texts, their festivals and foods, their ceremonies -- to awaken activist commitment to heal the world from climate crisis.
Let me be clear and honest: To make this happen, we need your help.
In all of these grass-roots approaches, emails like the Shalom Report are helpful, but physical on-site presence is more effective. I have seen and felt and heard how more changes after I actually meet with, speak with, and weave conversations and prayer experiences with congregations and their leaders.
So I invite you to invite me to do this with your community -- a congregation, college classes, an interfaith conference. We can discuss this if you write me directly at Awaskow@theshalomcenter.org
And to keep making possible the range of writing, activism, interfaith cooperation, occasional arrests that The Shalom Center does and sponsors, please click to the maroon “Contribute” button on the left-hand margin of this page, and make your Passover contribution to The Shalom Center.
With blessings that we can all turn the hearts of the Elders and the Youth toward each other, bringing new life and energy, nrew freedom and compassion, into our varied religious, spiritual, and ethical communities, and renewing a planet, a climate, as life-giving for our grandchildren as it was for our grandparents! -- Arthur